• Sustainability – The Story so Far

    Sustainability is and will continue to be an area of significant focus throughout the JD Group for 2020 and beyond, not least in our Own Brand product range, consumables and energy usage. To find out more about our “Sustainability” ethos and future ambitions, please read the JD Group Sustainability Statement below:


    Plastic vs. Paper – The debate

    When identifying opportunities to reduce plastic useage, it is important to carefully review the impact of alternative materials. Many alternatives to plastic do not achieve the desired environmental benefits (i.e. they may have a higher carbon footprint, or have a detrimental environmental impact if not disposed of correctly).

    Changes to materials need to consider function, purpose and full-life environmental impact. The greatest mitigation of negative impacts on the environment is reuse. Plastic bags reused just 3-4 times are more environmentally friendly than a single use paper bag.

    Suppliers with ideas or innovations that would help to reduce our environmental impact are welcome to contact our Energy and Environment team via newsupplierenquiries@jdplc.com.

    More information on the plastic debate and our journey within it, can be found via the case study below:

    How we mitigate the impact of using plastic

    • Reuse
      We created a quality plastic drawstring bag for our consumers which, with an over the shoulder cord, is designed perfectly to carry anything from P.E. kits, to a change of clothes, to shopping. The JD bag is so popular that it is widely resold on eBay! Our JD drawstring bag is classified as a ‘bag for life’, but we still apply the carrier bag levy fee to this bag, with all proceeds going to The JD Foundation.
    • Reduce
      We have created a “junior” sized JD drawstring bag for smaller items, using 39% less plastic than the “adult” size equivalent.

    In 2019, we have increased our standard and junior drawstring bags from 33% to 50% recycled material, with the first new specification bags arriving in store in late 2018. Our US and Australian businesses work with in-country suppliers to minimise carbon usage arising from transportation, and will be aiming to increase from 33% to 50% recycled material by the end of Jan 2021.

    More information on how we try to encourage reuse and reduce the amount of plastic can be found in our Annual Report and the Case Study below:


    Approximately 90% of the Group’s sales come from products supplied by third party brands. The Group’s two principal brands are Nike and adidas who are recognised as industry leaders with regards to driving sustainability within the design and development of their product ranges. The balance of the Group’s sales relates to private label products and there is an ongoing project, led at a senior level, to review options on improving the sustainability of our manufactured garments. The Group have considered several initiatives and are proud to become a member of Textiles 2030. Textiles 2030 is part of a world-wide initiative, led by WRAP, to reduce the environmental impact of clothing across the globe.

    Having previously harvested data from our Mills and Dye houses and visiting selected sites to evaluate their ZDHC compliance (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals), we are moving into our next phase by engaging with a 3rd party to develop an initial self-assessment tool for management of sustainability and environmental issues in our supply chain. This will work towards the goals set within the Textiles 2030 initiative.

    As with many fashion retailers, planning is key to sustainability and the reduction of airfreight of product was a focus for JD Sports. With better sourcing, planning and forecasting across departments we have been able to reduce dramatically our intake of airfreighted product which means our carbon emissions have reduced by 4,341t CO2e.

    Sustainability in Private Label Manufacturing

    We started our journey towards responsible sourcing in June 2019 and, between then and now, have been working to make sustainability an integral part of our private label production from conception, to the end product and beyond.

    The JD Group are proud members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)

    We are committed to increasing the amount of Better Cotton in our private label manufacturing with a target of sourcing 80% of our cotton as “Better Cotton” by 2022.

    Better Cotton is not physically traceable to end products. However, BCI Farmers benefit from the demand for Better Cotton in equivalent volumes to those we source.

    To find out more on how JD is working with the BCI to mitigate our impact on the environment and help local communities, please read the case study below:We will track our progress against our targets internally through a “medal” based system whereby different “medals” will be awarded to our own brands depending on their level of sustainability. This will help us measure, monitor and improve sustainability across our ranges. This medal system is displayed below.

    JD own label sustainability award. Brand achievement goals

    Sustainable Processes

    Our private label design and development teams actively promote and encourage sustainable practices in every stage of the supply chain from initial concept to final production. Conscious led designing, the increased use of sustainable materials and incorporating sustainable manufacturing processes into the production will assist us to achieve our goals. Examples of sustainable manufacturing processes within our Tier 2 partners include:


    • Garments manufactured using water saving processes and technologies reducing water consumption including the recycling of waste water.


    • Encouraging partners in our supply chain to use renewable energy sources such as Solar or Wind and efficient manufacturing technology.


    • Reducing the impact of GHG using technologies to reduce the CO2 footprint of the manufacturing process.

    A good example of how making a small change within our processes can make a big difference in sustainability is our case study on Micro-Pak® Dri Clay v.s. Silica Gel sachets. By replacing 3.3 million silica gel sachets with micro-pak® dri clay in the packaging of our Own Brand products, we managed to substantially reduce our water and chemical usage and plastic and waste to landfill. More information is in our caste study below:

    Product Manufacturing Process

    At this present time, sustainability is not cost neutral. One of the reasons for this is availability of supply and demand so considerations must be made from the very start. These are Availability, Affordability, Aesthetics and Performance. It may not always be possible for commercial reasons on some brands that we produce in house to include sustainable fabrics, but it is important to consider all opportunities no matter how small or insignificant they can appear.

    Considerations are to be given to:
    • All products
    • Recycled Care labels
    • FSC Barcode stickers with APEO free adhesive
    • Recycled Hangtags/Strings
    More information on sustainability within our own private label can be found within the Annual Report and to find out more about how we mapped and investigated this process, please access the case studies below:
    Our “Own Brand Production Pyramid” illustrates the conversion of the components used in the manufacture of the product to sustainable materials and manufacturing processes by percentage across the own label ranges. The pyramid also includes the sustainable percentage of styles by brand, by volume.

    Customer Education

    In terms of the long-term Sustainability strategy, we believe more onus should be put on the consumer to help recycle used products and therefore, we think the education piece is critical to this. With this in mind, we plan to increase the promotion of educational tools like the one below:

    Recycling and Waste Management

    Increasing Recycled Content (online packaging):

    We completed a material specification and commercial review for our core UK distribution sites for our online packaging. As a result, we now use 100% recycled material for our online packaging. By choosing to use recycled plastic material (avoiding virgin material), the 2019/20 equivalent embodied carbon saving was 339t co2e*. The equivalent co2 saved is 2,950,435 km travelled by plane, or 73 flights around the world. New messaging has also been introduced to provide further guidance to our customers of how they can dispose these materials.

    For more information on how we increased recycled content please read our Annual Report and the case study below:

    Office Recycling and Waste Management

    Wherever possible, plastic or cardboard, is removed at the earliest source of our core supply chain (our Kingsway DC). During the year, the amount of cardboard recycled increased to 5,491 tonnes (2018: 4,756 tonnes).

    In 2019, we outsourced our waste management on-site to a third-party supplier, this has enabled the Group to trial new initiatives such as re-processing used hangers back into our estate via backhauling and reducing our general waste streams through finding different solutions for these materials. We achieved ‘zero waste to landfill’ accreditation in February 2020 after an third-party audit of our Kingsway DC waste and recycling processes.

    We continue to expand our use of the Dry Mixed Recycling (‘DMR’) schemes to all of our stores and businesses in the UK and Ireland, to maximise waste diversion from landfill. In 2019, we diverted 99% (2018: 98%) from landfill of our waste.

    For more information regarding waste management, please read our Annual Report or the case study below: